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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    164

    How to develop skills as a beginner mountain biker

    I just bought my first mountain bike, and discovered this morning that unfortunately road riding skills do NOT translate to the trails, other than knowing when/how to shift, I suppose. I ended my ride with the distinct feeling that despite 4,000 miles on the road in the past couple of years I do not actually know how to ride a bike. It was very humbling.

    Part of it is just learning to trust the fatter tires and lower psi, and most of it will probably just take time, but is there anything else y'all know of to build skills? Any really helpful articles or youtube videos or general tips? I was having trouble with such basic tasks like slow tight turns - but of course it was my first time out there.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    pacific NW
    Posts
    1,043
    That has been my experience as well, but in my case, the required fitness level was the real stumbling block. It's a whole different dimension of aerobic fitness. Around here there is a mountain bike club that offers a basic skills class that was very helpful. Maybe there is such a group in your area?

    I didn't really keep up with it--I only really get on the mountain bike to do the super fun Stinky Spoke ride on what is supposed to be the worst weather day of the year. I imagine if I did keep at it more consistently, it would get easier...

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Posts
    10,956
    There is a big difference between road riding and mountain biking - even if both involve bikes I highly recommend your seeking out a mountain bike clinic to work on the basics, some parts of the country offer clinics for women-only. Much of your time on the mountain bike is spent off the saddle, and body english is important. Welcome to the new world of trail riding and have fun! I used to enjoy it a lot though I never really got all that good at it.
    Last edited by Catrin; 12-20-2015 at 02:46 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    1,940
    I am a mt biker first and only road ride to supplement my mt biking. I actually don't care for road riding very much. Anyway I agree on taking the clinic if you can find one, it would be a huge help. The other key, is time in the saddle. Not only is mt biking a different aerobic engine, but very technique based. So approach it like any other technique based sport. Like skiing or tennis. To get better, you have to practice. Sometimes when my husband and I go out to ride, I ask him to forgo a long ride and just work skills. It is worth the time.

    Also, I would see if there are any groups in the area you can ride with. Just like following a better skier will make you better, following a better rider, and watching their line will help you improve also. I have found that once I tried stuff that seems scary a time or two, my confidence built to the point where I would look at a big log over, or scary bridge or crazy descent and just draw on past experience.

    Keep us posted on what you find and ask away if you have questions, there are some very experienced mt bikers on this forum.



    I just saw that you are in MD. Go on IMBA's website and see if they have any clinics. My former coach gives clinics for them and I know he travels all over the east coast.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    1,940
    http://go-adventuresports.com/advent...untain-biking/


    Not IMBA, but at a quick glance, it may work

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,129
    I never got there. I wanted to ride my bike in the woods, and didn't think about the fact that mountain biking is so technical. I had one year where my skills got a little better, but basically, I was scared to death I was going to die every time I rode, and I felt like it was taking time and miles away from my road bike. I don't play tennis, golf, or any other sport that requires coordination and technical skills, but I truly never thought mountain biking was in this category. It's too bad, and I might have improved if i spent more time at it, but one of the most humiliating riding experiences of my life was the group moutain bike ride I went on (during the year I was feeling confident), at a place that is rated "easy." I was off the bike almost the whole time, being passed by guys wearing jeans.
    I rode my mountain bike maybe 5 times after that, and sold it in 2008 to someone who was thrilled. I now spend time in the woods hiking.
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